Autodialers are a common commodity in call centers across the globe. Despite that, misperceptions about them exist, particularly as it relates to TCPA compliance. Autodialers are specifically mentioned in the TCPA, which likely explains the concerns and confusion – especially since fines for violations of the TCPA also have a certain level of notoriety.
Autodialers, when used correctly, improve efficiency and productivity without sacrificing TCPA compliance. Here’s what businesses should know to keep themselves within the bounds of the law without missing out on the benefits of the autodialer.
What Are Autodialers?
Autodialers generally refers to outbound calls made by automated, rather than manual, means. Call center software automatically contacts preapproved numbers and rings the phone. If the customer answers, a live agent steps in to handle the call. Or, if the call goes to voice mail, the software determines the best course of action, either leaving a message or earmarking the customer for a follow-up call.
What are the Different Types, and How Do They Work?
1. Manual Dialers. Manual dialers may seem out of date, but they are considered necessary in today’s call center—particularly in industries with rigorous regulations and oversight. These dialers combine machines and humans, allowing the machines to do the “heavy lifting” of calling numbers but relying on human input about whether to complete or abandon calls.
2. Autodialers. Autodialers tend to be comprehensive, allowing businesses to improve inbound and outbound communication efforts. This technology often integrates with interactive voice response (IVR) and other call center components.
3. Predictive Dialers. Predictive dialers spring from autodialers, employing detailed information about not only contacts but also agents. As the technology dials customers, it assigns connected calls to appropriate agents. This capability reduces downtime, increases agent efficiency and customer satisfaction.
4. Preview Dialers. Preview dialers sound like what they are: previews. As the automatic dialing technology contacts people, the person’s available data appears on agents’ desktop or laptop screens. The information allows agents to hold informed conversations with customers, often producing higher resolution and customer satisfaction rates.
5. Blended Call Centers. Blended call centers typically use several autodialer technologies to facilitate inbound and outbound calls in a mix that boosts agent productivity. Preview dialers, for example, often enhance inbound calls. Predictive dialers improve outbound ones, increasing productivity and right-party connectivity.
What Advantages Do Autodialers Offer?
Autodialers provide a number of advantages. A few were hinted at in the previous section but receive greater attention here.
1. Efficiency. Most businesses turn to autodialers to increase call center efficiency, and this does the trick. With autodialers, agents spend more time speaking with people rather than waiting for calls to connect.
2. Productivity. As efficiency grows, so does productivity. But some businesses may experience higher productivity gains than others. Businesses with blended call campaigns (inbound and outbound), for example, often witness greater productivity than companies with only inbound efforts.
3. Data Quality. Autodialers can improve data quality by automatically recording customer data. It’s a huge benefit. Better data helps agents and call centers understand customers, analyze campaigns, and amend business goals and strategies.
What Concerns Do Autodialers Present?
Autodialers bring advantages, but they proffer concerns, too. Many businesses worry about TCPA compliance, and rightly so. Numerous court cases attest to companies and call centers that abuse autodialing technologies. Because of that, TCPA compliance heads the following list of concerns.
1. TCPA Compliance. TCPA compliance for autodialers is no laughing matter. Penalties for disregarding it range from $500 to $1,500. Fortunately, businesses can take steps to improve TCPA compliance efforts.
2. Litigation. When businesses disregard the TCPA, penalties occur. But penalties aren’t the only negative result. Litigation can happen, too. Customers file lawsuits, and, if they win, the business pays hundreds and thousands of dollars in settlement fees. Some businesses never recover from the loss and eventually file for bankruptcy.
3. Customer Dissatisfaction. Some customers may express dissatisfaction with an autodialer. The fault sometimes lies with an outdated technology, or those setup without testing for customer experience. Both concerns can be solved with quality software and revised customer experience focus.
What Are Best Practices for Autodialers?
To see positive impacts with an autodialer, businesses should implement a couple of best practices. The three found here are good starting points, especially as it concerns autodialers and TCPA compliance.
1. Education and Training. Agents usually do as they’re taught, so businesses should teach and train agents to work within the bounds of the TCPA. Businesses should also demonstrate how to use autodialers and complementary technologies. Doing so ensures agents follow a systematic process rather than creating a new one for every call.
2. Integration. Autodialing technology works best when integrated with other call center components and business functions. By sharing the data gleaned from the autodialer, all departments, from customer service to marketing, will achieve more business objectives.
3. Business Intelligence. Integration creates another opportunity: business intelligence (BI). BI seeks to make companies not only data-driven but also more proactive in how they direct efforts. Autodialers help this goal by automatically collecting data about agents and customers and feeding that information into the BI engine.
Autodialers can be confusing. TCN can help by walking businesses through the industry’s concerns and advantages. Businesses interested in having a conversation should request a demo today.